Not a great week, but not a bad week

Posted on | October 10, 2008

I finally decided to get off my ass and start writing again.  I’m not happy when I’m not writing, but often I lack the kind of input that I need to push me toward writing.  Television and movies doesn’t do it: only reading really inspires me to write a lot.  Fortunately, I had two perfect stimuli: I finally fixed my Palm T|X, replacing the broken screen with a working one, and I get an ebook edition of Saturn’s Children, by Charlie Stross.  I’ve had the hardcover on my shelf for months, but like Iron Sunrise it remained unread until I could carry around a copy around in my pocket.  (I strongly suspect that the same will be true of Iain Banks’ Matter, another book I managed to acquire even before it was out in the US and have had on my nightstand since then, unread.)

When trying to cold-start Muse, it helps to find something I have that’s half-finished, with which I’m neither happy or unhappy.  Something for which it’s time either to push it, or kill it.  A Pleasing Shape came to me; it’s a love story between a man, his girlfriend, and his robot.  It’s a little weak, mostly because I don’t have much grip on Darzi’s motivations.  He doesn’t want to get rid of Peren and Jouet, but he certainly didn’t invite them into his life.  He just wanted someone to pose for his paintings.  The sex scene I wrote is actually really good, and I enjoyed it because it has lots of moments of cinema verite, like this:

Darzi’s mouth watered with desire for her, a feeling he appreciated even after so many months together, and he was grateful she was on top and he could keep swallowing.  He didn’t want to drool on her, not yet.

I dunno.  Maybe that’s just one of my hang-ups.  Here’s a better scene, one in which Darzi has been forced to separate from Peren during the college’s summer break, and is using Jouet, a robot whose brain has been erased and is now slowly recovering. In the meantime, the AI looking over Jouet has given her to Darzi as a posing mannequin:

“Do you think you’ll be able to return to this pose tomorrow?” he asked her.  She nodded her head only slightly.  “Then let me help you down.”  She relaxed slightly.  He took her arm and guided her back down to the bed.  He touched her cheek, and she tilted her head against his hand.  “Don’t fall over, okay?”  She moved her arm down to the bed to show she could hold herself up just fine.

He looked at his canvas.  A portrait is three things: the patience of the subject, the talent of the artist, and an expression of the relationship between the two. If that was true, as he had told Peren, and as he believed, then what was his painting of Jouet expressing?

He wasn’t sure yet.

He sighed deeply and turned his attention to the kitchen.  He had never been a good cook– for that matter neither was Peren.  Robots were famously good cooks, part of their talent for taking care of the humans they cared about.  He wondered if Jouet would ever be smart enough or whole enough to take care of Peren and himself.

That is, if Peren wanted to accompany him into the future.  He looked back at Jouet and wondered if she would.  If she had a choice in the matter.  When he had acquired her, she’d been empty, blank.  But she was made to learn how to be human.  It just took time.

Anyway, I’ve done about 3,500 words in the past two days on this, including a delightful love scene, Peren’s addiction to nicotine, one of Darzi’s friends being smug because, with Peren back on Pendor visting her parents he’s getting laid much more than Darzi is, and the set-up for Darzi to really start getting it on with Jouet. It’ll be good for both of them. For Peren… not so much.

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